WhatsApp Image 2023 12 12 at 06.20.58 1A delegation of women and men leaders from the MDM, RENAMO, and FRELIMO parties, Members of the Assembly of the Republic, and representatives of Civil Society Organizations are participating in an exchange of experiences in South Africa from December 10th to 14th of this year.

The initiative aims to strengthen the participants' capabilities in resource mobilization, enhance their capacity for strategic influence in politics, and develop strategies for greater empowerment of women's voices in political parties and institutions of political representation.

Lorena Mazive, Program Coordinator of the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD), referred to the event as a significant contribution to the enhancement of skills and knowledge of political leaders. She emphasized that it will serve as a foundation for strengthening political parties and their women's and youth leagues.

The Program Coordinator emphasized that one of the primary interests of the Women's Political Academy and expressed satisfaction with the participants' engagement is the ongoing collaboration between political actors and civil society, as well as among political party actors themselves. Lorena Mazive stated, "It's reassuring to know that women from the political parties' women's leagues are already interacting even without the facilitation of IMD/APM. This signifies an enduring gain for democracy and reflects the outcomes of dialogue sessions promoted by IMD/APM."

WhatsApp Image 2023 12 12 at 06.20.58 2The official opening of the exchange between Mozambican and South African women was conducted by Mozambique's High Commissioner in South Africa, Maria Manuela dos Santos. In her opening remarks, dos Santos acknowledged the work of the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD) in strengthening the capacities of political parties and elected democratic institutions. She highlighted the significance of the exchange of experiences during the two-week period dedicated to Human Rights, especially in the context of many women suffering from the terrorist conflict in Cabo Delgado.

The second speaker, Ms. Mmabatho Ramagoshi, a member of the Board of the International Women's Alliance and President of the Mmabatho Women's Development Foundation, began her intervention by advocating for women to work together regardless of their political affiliations. She emphasized unity and vigilance across different political landscapes to advance women's agendas. Ramagoshi encouraged women to understand the real problems facing women in their daily lives, asserting that as women representatives, their duty is to advocate for women, not just for their political parties. She stated, "We must be united and, above all, be vigilant in different policies to achieve women's agendas. I, as a woman, represent women and not the party. Where I don't see benefits for women, I cannot work. We must continue to be women independent of the party to which we belong."

The final session's address was delivered by Professor Cheryl Hendrix, the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation. She argued that the first step towards gender equality begins with improving the quantity and quality of parliamentary representation. Hendrix emphasized that without women in decision-making bodies, issues related to women in various sectors will not be adequately considered.

According to Ana Rita Sithole, who serves as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OACPS, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and a member of the Permanent Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the IMD has significantly contributed to the political growth of women. However, despite the increasing presence of active women in politics, challenges persist related to the lack of capacity that would enable them to lead alongside men at any level. "This exchange of experiences, promoted by the Political Academy of Women, an IMD initiative, serves to provide us with more insights into overcoming the challenges that hinder active participation of women in leadership positions and in politics in general," she said. Sithole commended the presence of men, noting that although the initiative focuses on promoting women's involvement, men are also important actors in the engagement process.

WhatsApp Image 2023 12 11 at 11.36.19During their stay in South Africa, the Mozambican delegation will visit political representation institutions in Pretoria and civil society organizations working towards women's socio-political engagement to exchange information on leadership for the expansion of political space.

The gathering of Mozambican and South African women and men leaders is expected to promote greater interaction among women from different political-legal and cultural contexts. It aims to enhance interaction between civil society and political stakeholders, improve interaction between male and female leaders from different political parties with parliamentary representation, and encourage the discussion of political issues among women. The event also seeks to showcase programs on Women's Leadership, Empowerment, Political and Economic Development, and Peace and Security from a gender perspective.

It is believed that women in leadership positions in politics are crucial actors in influencing processes and procedures, as well as in creating legal norms that protect and guarantee human rights, especially those of women. For this reason, they have the power to advocate for the improvement of the implementation of the civil and political rights of women, particularly in efforts to eliminate cruel and inhumane treatment against this group, with a focus on conflict environments.

The event is organized as part of the implementation of the Power of Dialogue (PoD) Program, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).


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